So this post literally took me months to write... I wrote out notes in my writing journal, I drafted and deleted blog posts about this but then finally last night it all spilled out in one of those 1am moments of (hopefully) clarity. I have the best friends who have encouraged me so much as I share the difficult bits of my story. It has been really really hard not to gloss over the painful pieces, and to find a way to tell this part of my story that honors God's sovereignty and also honest about the difficulty of this moment... I hope that by being brave with my story you are free to be brave with yours. Every story matters, even the messy, painful ones we want to hide.
Having babies and not having babies, this is one of the most deeply personal areas of a woman's heart. The whole issue of family size and "being done" is an emotional minefield. As women we want desperately to have a baby, or another baby or maybe do not want to go there at all, ever, or just not again, or not right now. At times our arms ache to hold that tiny one, to welcome that new little life, and at other times we desperately want to avoid the two blue lines and two little words that change our lives forever.
During the different seasons of my life I have wanted ever so desperately to have a baby, or another baby but please God not yet. I have wept in the bathroom both with joy and with fear. I have welcomed a new addition with eagerness and I have looked at those two lines and said "Seriously, God? Again?" The other day I found the blog post I wrote before Eli's ultrasound and so many of those same feelings were true about this latest pregnancy as well.
After Josiah (our fourth child) Daniel and I were both too exhausted to really think about having more children. We faced massive transitions and mountains of stress on a day by day basis. I went through a few months of being crazy depressed so having another baby wasn't on our radar. I had a super-early miscarriage (or something) and wanted desperately to be pregnant again, just not now. And then those two little lines turned blue and we looked at each other and were like "when did that happen?!"
During my pregnancy with Eli (our baby number five) I basically argued with God for nine months strait about the size of our family. I felt really angry with God - I said things to Him like "haven't I given up enough of my life?!! Isn't having four children enough for you? I already feel like a freak show whenever we go out. you can not seriously ask me to do this again. really?" and all I had in reply was this picture in my head of two little children playing together, a little boy and a little girl. I thought this meant that we would probably have another baby after Eli, a little girl - and I thought we'd have her pretty shortly after Eli was born. I told God - okay God, if we have another baby I have this one
But I waited and waited and she didn't come. Eli turned two and I felt like I was ready for another baby. I prayed for God to change Daniel's heart and nothing happened. I ached to have another baby, to have my little girl. I waited and waited. If someone asked me if we were having any more babies I would say "we'll see." If a really good friend asked if we were having another baby I might say "I think so."
2013 was the height of my baby fever. I wanted my little girl to be born in June, the window opened and then the window closed and no baby. 2014 came and at the very beginning of it I was still hoping maybe we would have another baby but like I have already written 2014 was a pretty tough year and by the time we got to June I was really thankful that God sees the beginning from the end and He knew that I couldn't handle a baby during that time.
I missed that little girl, I felt like our family was incomplete but at the same time the hope of adding another member to our family began to fade into the background. I started to move on. I felt sad that the little dresses in the plastic box in my garage would stay there until my daughters needed them for their own children. I felt sad that this stage of my life was coming to a close but I embraced it. I was moving on.
When 2015 began and I had been sick for nearly a month strait a baby was not at all on my radar. But I thought "maybe she's coming. maybe my little girl is coming." I knew I had about a 50/50 chance that it would be a boy but I was mostly hoping for a girl. I tried to keep my heart open to whatever would happen. I didn't buy anything but neutrals until we had the ultrasound.
The day of our ultrasound was wonderful. I had felt a pretty high level of anxiety about this baby throughout the first few months so I felt so relieved when we got a clear ultrasound. Nothing major showed up on the ultrasound and - surprise! - we were having a boy. The next day though, I let myself grieve for the death of a dream. My girl wasn't coming. I cleaned my kitchen and cried. I let myself be sad for the baby I would not be having so that I could be happy about the baby that I would be having. I stood at my kitchen sink and let the sadness wash over me. The little girl I'd been wishing for and missing all of these years isn't coming.
People have asked me if we are having more babies after this one and while my motto with God is "never say never" my feeling about more babies is this - no more from this body.
I never used to understand people who hated being pregnant. Not until this pregnancy. This was miserable on every front. Not dramatic enough to have any kind of complications, nothing with a name, just nine months of being miserable - feeling grumpy and sick, exhausted and walking around in a mental fog. I spent most of those months in pain. I started having contractions at 14 weeks, sometimes they would last all day. Even if I wasn't having regular contractions Grayson found positions to stay in that were extremely painful for me. I walked through an ocean of fear about adding another member to our family and moments of overwhelming, irrational anxiety. I basically hated being pregnant this time. It was an awful, miserable pregnancy.
Grayson was born on Labor Day and I could not love a little person more than I love this little guy. I love him fiercely. Like with every child he has changed me. He's shifted things in my heart and I love it. I love who I am because of this new little one. I love the thought of how he has changed the world already just by entering it. Who knows what he will do as he grows up.
I have found that the most unexpected pregnancies have done the most amazing things in my heart. I have had three surprise pregnancies now, out of our six, and each one has been the most incredible gift, beyond what I could ever imagine. This has already been true about Grayson too.
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continue reading... all I have is ashes